Robaina's plantation

Sunday 31 January 2016

Fototeca de Cuba (Steve McCurry Exhibit) Havana

                Whenever I walk through Plaza Vieja and I have the time, I like to pop into the fototeca and see what's on display. If you told me the name of the photographer who had the exhibit on the upper floor galley before writing this post, I couldn't have told you who he was. However, if you would have shown me his picture of the most recognizable National Geographic cover, like many, I would have remembered it. On this day they had a wonderful exhibit displaying some of this talented artist's photographs. When I saw the Afghan Girl photograph (1st one below), of course I knew who this guy was. The pictures I showed below, I took while in the gallery. The much clearer ones I got from the photographer's website:  The titles I took from the gallery and are worded exactly as they were displayed.
                 Although he is not Cuban, this post is promoting the Fototeca and just informing you of the quality of international artists that can be found here on display at any given time.
                 Steve McCurry is an American editorial photographer who has taken some spectacular photographs over the years that have been used in countless books and magazines. I'm sure that like myself, you'll recognize some of his works.

                The Fototeca de Cuba is an institution belonging to the National Council of Plastic Arts of the Ministry of Culture of Cuba. Founded by the prominent Cuban photographer and researcher María Eugenia Hague (Marucha), November 15, 1986, in La Habana Vieja. It is nestled in a eighteenth century mansion, facing the Plaza Vieja, one of the oldest in the city, underwent remodeling in the nineteenth century, was restored in 1986 and belonged to Beatriz Pérez Barroto. Inside the courtyard is a mural by ceramic artist Marta Arjona on a design by the outstanding painter and ceramist Amelia Peláez.
               It's vaults contain an incredible memory of over 150 years of Cuban photography, with approximately 35,089,000,498,000 photographs, a few negatives and a good collection of books, documents and catalogs of Cuba and other countries.
               It's not only a center that promotes, preserves, exhibits and discloses Cuban photography, it also hosts, in their exhibit rooms, specialty projects. Among its functions, it plays an important role in organizing lectures, seminars, courses, theoretical and practical workshops given by prestigious personalities who put, Cuban professionals and the general public, in contact with the actual work of the manifestation of the visual arts. On file, are available photographic images and curriculum by leading foreign photographers, that have been donated to the national heritage, by their authors.
               The institution has two spaces for exhibits and was designed this way from the beginning. Upstairs is the gallery Mary E. Hague, which favors the more established artists, mainly Cubans. However, sometimes they may put a foreigner's work in there as well. Joaquín Blez, the gallery located on the ground floor, is reserved for emerging artists, but that too may differ at times. The schedule for each conceives a monthly exhibition space, but sometimes the exhibition time is extended to two months, either by the importance attached to the project or for logistical reasons (especially Joaquín Blez the lower space). Some pictures may be accompanied by printed material. The Fototeca does it's best to promote talented young people by having two calls for all resident Cuban photographers in the country to bring their best work forward to create a Fellowship among the artists and ensure the continuity of the country's visual memory.

             The mission of the Fototeca de Cuba is to contribute through a systematic and specialized work, the development and assessment of Cuban photography as a form of expression of our national culture. Preserve, promote, display and disclose the photographic heritage contained in the institution's collection and the various manifestations of Cuban photography, based on the simultaneity of values in the same, in its documentary, testimonial, historical and artistic aspects; both in Cuba and internationally.
           Similarly a mission to bring the public through various communication strategies, cultural promotion, etc. and display the best values in international photography in Cuba, encouraging learning and appreciation of photography among photographers and the general public.

The Steve McCurry Exhibit
Plaza Vieja
Calle Mercaderes #307
phone: (7) 8622530

Sahrbat Gula, Afghan Girl, at Nasir Bagh refugee camp near Peshawar Pakistan 1984 

Afghan Girl 20 years later in Pakistan

 Coal Miner smoking, Pol-e-Khomri, Afghanistan 2002

Boy in mid-flight, Jodhpur, Rajasthan, India 2007

Aftermath of Tsunami, Japan 2011

Mother & Child beg for alms through a taxi window during the monsoon, Mumbai, India 1993

One of the country's countless widows relies on kindness of strangers for survival, Kabul, Afghanistan 2002

Blue City, Jodhpur, Rajasthan, India 2010

Struggling camels silhouetted against the oil-fire, al-Ahmadi oil field, Kuwait 1991

A young Wodaabe man dresses for a wedding ritual, Tahoua, Nigar 1986

Women seek shelter from a dust storm, Rajasthan, India 1983

Flower seller Dal Lake, Srinigar, Kashmir 1986

Procession of nuns, Burma 1994

Taj and train, Agra, Uttar Pradesh, India 1983

Upper Gallery

View from balcony of upper gallery

A widow looking for alms, Kabul, Afghanistan 1992

Crowd carries a man during Holi festival, Rajasthan, India 1996

A rarity in Mayanmar, a woman models her brass neck rings, Loikaw, Burma (Myanmar) 1994

Man with henna beard, Srinagar, Kashmir 1995

A colourful village girl in rural horse festival in Eastern Tibet 1999

The Artist today and yesterday

Monday 25 January 2016

Pinar del Rio (a Pictorial) Nov.2015

             The Province of Pinar del Rio is located at the western end of Cuba, it's Cuba's westernmost province. The province had a population of 592,042 in a total area of 8,884 square kilometers in 2010 with Pinar del Rio city, the capitol, with a population of 139,336, the 10th largest in the country. 
              It's rare that I don't come to this part of the country to visit my friends that happen to be tobacco farm owners when I come to Cuba. These pictures were taken on my way to visiting them.